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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

May 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Who mailed slain man’s license, credit cards to his Woodinville home?

The family of a man who was found slain in his Woodinville home last month is trying to find the person who mailed the victim’s credit cards and driver’s license in the days after the slaying.

Earl Cossey, 71, was found dead in his home of blunt-force trauma to the head, and the King County Medical Examiner’s Office placed the date of death as April 23. Cossey’s daughter found his body three days later when she went to check on him.

During a news conference this morning, King County sheriff’s Detective Jake Pavlovich said that days after the slaying, someone mailed Cossey’s license, credit cards and a casino gaming card to his home. The mail was then forwarded to the home of his son, Wayland Cossey, who also spoke at the news conference.

Pavlovich said he believes the items were taken when Cossey was killed but were then later dropped or intentionally discarded. Pavlovich said someone else then likely found the items and mailed them to Cossey’s home.

Pavlovich and Wayland Cossey said they hope that person comes forward, so they can learn more about where the items were discovered. Authorities are offering a $1,000 reward if that person comes forward.

An additional $2,500 is being offered for information on the slaying.

Pavlovich also revealed this morning that whoever killed Cossey had also “gone through” his home, although detectieves have not settled a a specific motive for the slaying.

Cossey spent several years teaching at Leota Junior High in Woodinville. He was also the man who packed the parachutes used by infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper more than four decades ago. However, Pavlovich said detectives have no reason to think the slaying is linked to the Cooper case.

In November 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper — later erroneously identified as D.B. Cooper — hijacked a passenger plane from Portland to Seattle. He released the passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in exchange for $200,000 and four parachutes, and asked to be flown to Mexico.

The plane took off again at his direction with some of the crew on board. As the plane neared Oregon, Cooper jumped from its lowered rear stairs. No one knows what happened to him. Investigators doubt he survived the nighttime jump in a frigid rain, and some of his money was found by a boy playing on a Columbia River beach in 1980.

The parachutes provided to the skyjacker came from an Issaquah skydive center, which had recently bought them from Cossey. The one Cooper apparently used was a military-issue NB6, nylon parachute with a conical canopy.

Over the decades, as parachutes were sometimes discovered in the area of Cooper’s jump, the FBI sought Cossey’s help in identifying them.

“They keep bringing me garbage,” Cossey told The Associated Press in 2008, after the FBI brought him a silk parachute discovered by children playing at a recently graded road in Southwest Washington. “Every time they find squat, they bring it out and open their trunk and say, ‘Is that it?’ and I say, ‘Nope, go away.’ Then a few years later they come back.”

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: D.B. Cooper, homicide, King County Sheriff's Office

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